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WEEK 14

Lesson: Narrative Paragraphs


14.1 Introduction
Narrative paragraphs simply tell a story or relay a sequence of events.
Generally, these events are told in chronological order, that is the order in which Narrative
they happened. However, a narrative paragraph most often tells a story in order to paragraphs
illustrate or demonstrate a point. Because of this, developing a strong topic tell a story
sentence is important. For instance, the following topic sentence would be or relay
considered weak for a narrative paragraph: a sequence
Jeff’s family went on a fishing trip to Horning’s Hideout.
of events.
The above topic sentence lacks appeal and leaves the reader thinking, “So
what!” because the sentence has not established any purpose for the paragraph.

14.2 Purpose and Appeal


Sometimes narrative writing can simply entertain the reader; however, in
formal academic writing, the purpose of a narrative paragraph is to inform or
persuade. To add purpose, the topic sentence should establish a contention which
the author will set out to prove in the paragraph. In so doing, he adds appeal as
well. The following topic sentence stands in contrast to the one above:
Fishing at Horning’s Hideout proved to be an enjoyable outing for Jeff and
his family.
This sentence sets out something to be proven in the paragraph and is more The topic
appealing to the reader. Yes, the paragraph will tell the story of the family’s sentence of a
fishing trip, but it will do so in a way which proves the trip to have been enjoyable. narrative
Furthermore, establishing a contention improves appeal by challenging the reader paragraph
to respond to what is said. Finally, establishing this topic sentence limits the does not start
perspective or angle which will be taken on the subject. Now supporting
the narration.
information must be developed.
It establishes
a purpose.
14.3 Developing a narrative paragraph
All the enjoyable parts of the family fishing trip have been established as the
topic of this narrative paragraph. Hence, the writer can brainstorm supporting
information with a clear goal in mind. An extensive list of enjoyable parts for
everyone should be developed. Most likely, all of these will not be used, but any
points which might serve to support the contention must be considered. Illustration
14A below is a list of as many pleasant aspects of the trip as the writer could
recall.
Following the brainstorming of supporting information, the writer must
develop a planning outline, such as in illustration 14B, for using this material. The
outline will help one stay logical and topical as points are organized into related

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groupings. Naturally with a narrative paragraph, points are arranged in


chronological order.

14A - Brainstorming Supporting Information

Contention: Trip was enjoyable


All: Excited preparations for the trip
- Food, games, books, toys, fishing equipment
Great place to fish
Fun being in the woods
Great weather

Jeff and brother: Purchased bait there


Catching the fish was fun
Caught seven fish
Interesting to see white peacocks
Time with Father

Father: Family time, tasty dinner


Mother: Did needlework, read book, had quiet time

The student will notice that the ideas above are reorganized into chronological
order in the planning outline.

Events in 14B - Planning Outline


narrative
paragraphs 1. Topic sentence - trip was enjoyable.
a. Preparations
should be (1) Mother - food, books, needlework
arrange (2) Father - car
chronologically. (3) Boys - fishing poles, toys, books
b. Reach destination
(1) Purchase bait
c. Finding fishing spot
(1) Finding first place
(2) Moving to second place
d. Real fishing began
(1) Brother caught fish
(2) Father busy
(a) His pole
(b) Helping boys cast
(c) Helping keep hooks baited
(d) Helping reel in catch
(3) Jeff caught fish
(4) Caught seven fish
(5) Cleaned fish before leaving
e. Jeff and brother were excited to catch fish
f. Father enjoyed time with sons
g. Mother enjoyed quiet time
2. Concluding sentence - It was fun for all

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14C - Sample Paragraph

Fishing Fun

Fishing at Horning’s Hideout proved to be an enjoyable


outing for Jeff and his family. All family members rose early in the
morning excited to prepare for the trip. Mother packed food for
the family as well as her books and needlework. Father checked
the car to make certain it was ready for the drive. Then with
Father’s help, Jeff and his brother readied their fishing poles
along with the books and toys which would entertain them on the
hour’s drive. When the family arrived at their destination, they
stopped by the office to purchase some worms to use as bait.
Cheerfully walking along the narrow path, the family transported
their gear all the way around the small pond looking for just the
right place to cast their lines. In hopes that fish would be lurking
in the shadows, Jeff and his brother decided to fish from a shady
area along one side of the pond. Though it seemed like the perfect
fishing spot, overhead branches interfered with casting.
Undaunted after snagging lines several times, the avid fishermen
decided it would be best to move to the other side of the pond.
Here, the boys began to get bites. Before long, Jeff’s older brother
caught the first fish. Jeff caught one soon after. Suddenly the fish
were biting and Father became very active helping the two excited
boys keep their hooks baited, and reel in their catch. Just before
noon, Jeff hooked what turned out to be the largest trout of the day
which he hung in the water near the shore with the other captured
fish. While Father and the boys fished, Mother enjoyed sitting at
the picnic table and reading quietly or doing her needlework. After
several hours of fishing, and a total catch of seven fish, Father
showed the boys how to clean the fish before packing up for the
trip home. The outing was great fun for the whole family. Jeff and
his brother found much excitement in catching the fish. Father
enjoyed helping the boys and spending a day in the woods. Mother
expressed her pleasure in being with her family and seeing
everyone having an agreeable time. Most of all, everyone’s taste
buds were delighted with the dinner that evening. All the family is
hoping for a return trip before too long.

14.4 Using dialogue in the narrative


Since students tend to include dialogue in a narrative paragraph, they should
understand the two ways to present discourse. The first method is direct discourse
or dialogue which is a quote of the exact words spoken by someone. These words,
when written exactly as spoken, are to be presented in quotation marks and
attributed to the speaker. The second method of presenting dialogue is indirect
discourse by which the words are paraphrased and not written in quotation marks.
This is the method students are to use in assignments for this course when

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recounting personal experience. This limitation, however, does not apply when
presenting research material.
Below are samples of direct and indirect discourse which the student should
study to learn how to change from one form to the other.

Direct Discourse (Dialogue) Indirect Discourse


“I had a delightful time with my family and Mother expressed her pleasure in being
so appreciated everyone getting along with with her family and seeing everyone having
one another,” said Mother on the way an agreeable time.
home.
Jason suggested, “Let’s move to the other Jason calmly suggested that the family
side of the pond.” move to another side of the pond.

Literary Device
Figurative language, as was mentioned in Lesson 8, explains one concept or
A metaphor item with another in order to clarify the first. The metaphor is one such literary
compares device practiced in this lesson. Like a simile, a metaphor compares two items; but
two items instead of saying one thing is “like” another, it treats the one as if it is the other.
without For example:
the use Flowing water sliced through the dike.
of “like”
or “as”. The farmer touched the hot fence to see if the juice was flowing.

The student should note that metaphorical wording does not use “like” or “as”.
The writer of the above sentences does not spell out that water is acting like a
knife, or that an electrified fence feels like it is hot, or that voltage is as juice.
Instead, he leaves it up to the reader’s mind to connect each pair of concepts.
Metaphors occur frequently and can be found in a variety of parts of speech.
The student should study the following chart to become familiar with some of the
many uses of metaphors.

verbs: The game heated up as the quarterback rifled the pass to the receiver who
knifed between two defenders and tightroped down the sideline.

After much negotiation, the salesman shaved ten percent off the price of the car.

adjectives and Life is a carnival ride.


adverbs: The ferocious housecat attacked its prey.
The quarterback threw the football to the flying receiver.

prepositional He had muscles (of steel.)


phrases: She was saddened (by her ash heap) of dreams.

nouns: The army of seals swam in ranks.


Her decorative touch was evident in the home.

appositives: On the bed sat the dog, a whining baby.

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WEEK 14
Narrative Paragraphs

Daily Assignments

————— Day 1 —————


A. Reading Assignment:
Study the Week 14 Lesson on narrative paragraphs thoroughly.

B. Lesson Exercise:
Answer the following questions in complete sentences:
1. What must be established in order to make a narrative paragraph interesting?
2. What are the two methods for presenting dialogue?
3. What is a metaphor?

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Brainstorm a narrative paragraph on a topic approved by your instructor. Write your
brainstorming list neatly, in a manner that is suitable for submission with your final
draft.
Purpose: persuade
Audience: peers
Topic suggestions: a family outing, a family crisis
2. Do research, if required, for supporting information. Gather bibliographic information,
general notes on the topic, and prepare quotations, summaries, or paraphrases to offer
in support of your position as described in the Week 10 Lesson.
3. Write a topic sentence and create a planning outline for this narrative paragraph. The
planning outline will also be submitted to your instructor with your final draft.

————— Day 2 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Review the prepositions.

B. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
While Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry both participated in Virginia colonial
politics, the men differed greatly.

C. Writing Exercise:
Draft the entire narrative paragraph which you planned on Day 1. Insert proper citations
for any research evidence included. This week’s literary device, a metaphor, is to be

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included in the paragraph and may be worked in any time between now and Day 4. If you
find, at this point, that your planning outline must be changed, revise it and create a new
copy for submission.
Complete a copy of your paragraph draft today, so that you can mark corrections on it
tomorrow. This draft, with corrections, will be submitted to your instructor with your final
draft on Day 5.

————— Day 3 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the prepositions again.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Jefferson didn’t like making speeches or participating in oral dispute.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Now begin to edit your paragraph draft from yesterday, marking corrections and
changes on your rough draft. Consult the paragraph checklist to insure that you are
following set guidelines.
2. Add three different style points on this day.
3. Create another copy of this revision for submission on Day 5.

————— Day 4 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the prepositions. Now write the list in order from memory and submit it to your
instructor for correction.

B. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
In contrast, Patrick Henry’s reputation as an outstanding orator still stands today.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Go over your paragraph and correct all spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
2. This week’s literary device must be added to the paragraph by this day. If you cannot fit
the device into the assignment, write two sample sentences, each including this week’s
literary device, and submit them with your paragraph.
3. Make other improvements in words and phrases that may come to mind.
4. Prepare a revised draft of your paragraph.

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————— Day 5 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill prepositions again today

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Since both Jefferson and Henry opposed George III and the British Parliament.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. The final day to polish your paragraph has come. Read the paragraph aloud slowly and
listen for problem areas. Now, have someone else read it to you so that you can listen
and be certain that the product is well-written.
2. Using the paragraph checklist, review your paragraph to be certain that you have
followed the guidelines in the upper section. In the lower section, check off the style
points you have used. On your final draft, identify these style points by writing the
corresponding number from the checklist directly above each style point.
3. Make certain that the text includes appropriate parenthetical citations in-text, and that
the “Works Cited” page is complete.
4. Make certain that the assignment is formatted properly, including heading.
5. Submit your work to the instructor:
a. Final draft paragraph
b. Works Cited page, if applicable
c. Literary device, if created separately
d. Paragraph checklist
e. All drafts
f. Topic sentence & planning outline
g. Brainstorming

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WEEK 15
Narrative Paragraphs (continued)

Daily Assignments

————— Day 1 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the prepositions.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, who were also appointed to draft the Declaration
of Independence, suggested ideas but didn’t write the final draft.

C. Writing Exercise:
This week you will prepare for a timed writing of a narrative paragraph on Day 5. To
prepare for the paragraph, you will do research, gather bibliographic information, prepare
general notes on the topic, and prepare quotations, summaries, or paraphrases to offer in
support of your position as described in Week 10. Today, brainstorm possible contentions
for your topic sentence. Next, gather the sources needed for your research. Citings from at
least two sources will be required.
Purpose: to inform in an entertaining manner
Type of paragraph: narrative
Audience: peers who might not know about this event
Suggested topic: a historical event (NO FICTION)

————— Day 2 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the preposition

B. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
Knowing Jefferson to be the better writer, Franklin and Adams deferred to him.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. From a minimum of two sources, take general notes as needed on the topic and obtain
at least six quotes, summaries, or paraphrases.
2. Develop a list of the bibliographic information which corresponds to your notes. On the

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day you write your paragraph, you will draw from this list for your “Works Cited”
page. Naturally, only the sources you cite in your paragraph will be cited on the
“Works Cited” page. General or common knowledge gleaned from your sources need
not be specifically cited.

————— Day 3 —————

A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the prepositions.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
When Tom was asked to write the Declaration, he took up the challenge willingly.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Complete your research.
2. Brainstorm supporting points from your research and your own knowledge about the
topic.
3. Formulate a final topic sentence and complete a planning outline for your paragraph.

————— Day 4 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill the prepositions

B. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
Clearly, both Jefferson and Henry possessed their own special talents.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Of the quotes you have compiled, you may use only two in this paragraph . The
remainder of the paragraph must be your own writing. Today, determine which quotes
you will use and where they will fit into the planning outline. You may not pre-write
your paragraph.
2. Create a bibliographic information page for all the sources you studied. Do not create
the “Works Cited” page. It will be written during the timed write on Day 5.
3. Gather all materials which you will need for tomorrow’s timed write:

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a. Note cards
b. Topic sentence and planning outline
c. Bibliographic information page
d. Brainstorming

————— Day 5 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Drill prepositions again today.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Jefferson wasn’t home from France very long before Washington asked him to serve as
Secretary of State.

C. Writing Exercise:
Today’s exercise will be a 30-minute timed write.
1. Using your notes and planning outline, write a narrative paragraph on your chosen
topic. Strive for ten to twelve sentences, but the paragraph may be longer if desired.
Be certain to include two parenthetical references in the paragraph.
Audience: peers who might not know about this event
Purpose: to inform in an entertaining manner
2. Develop a “Works Cited” page for your sources. It should be organized according
to MLA guidelines. You may refer back to the Week 10 Lesson and to the
documentation formats in Appendix D on page 202.
3. When the time is up, submit the following to your instructor:
a. Written paragraph
b. “Works Cited” page
c. Bibliographic information page
d. Planning outline
e. Brainstorming
f. Note cards

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WEEK 16
Narrative Paragraphs (continued)

Daily Assignments

————— Day 1 —————


A. Reading Assignment:
Re-read the Week 14 Lesson on narrative paragraphs.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and leaves his own legacy.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Based on the guidelines given in Week 12 Lesson, critique the following paragraph,
marking scores, comments, and corrections on a grading form copied from Appendix E.
Assignment: tell of an event
Type of paragraph: narrative paragraph
Purpose: to persuade
Audience: instructor
The Fourth of July fireworks show at Fort Stevens proved to be a delightful outing
with special friends. The Barrett’s first preparation for the outing was to invite their
special friends, the Millers, to enjoy the fireworks with them. After the families agreed
to meet at the fort, each Barrett family member began his own preparations for the
outing. One day before the outing, Mom started first with food preparations as she
cooked potatoes for salad and prepared finger foods which insured light and healthy
eating. Finally, the day of the event, she cut up bite-sized chunks of delicious
summer fruits. The boys gathered frisbees, balls, hacky sacks, and other playthings.
Next, Dad pulled the cooler, lawn chairs, and blankets out of storage. Preparations
were also underway in the Miller home as the mother fried tasty chicken, baked
crusty French bread, and whipped up a delectable berry dessert. Both families loaded
their cars with goodies expecting a great time of food and fellowship. When they
reached the fort, the families walked close to a mile to reach their destination. Then
they spread their blankets on the ground and set up lawn chairs around the
perimeter. Then all around them, other families “staked claim to their territories” in
order to secure a great view of the fireworks show. Next came the waiting for
darkness to fall. Food and frolic filled these moments of fleeting daylight. The boys
played hacky sack and catch until they lost a favorite ball in a nearby tree. Then, at
long last, daylight waned and the fireworks show began. Background music being
broadcast from a local radio station blared over hundreds of radios which had been
brought by spectators. Then, choreographed to this background accompaniment, a
spectacular display began. Sparkling, dazzling, creative combinations of explosions
filled the night sky. So powerful were the fireworks, that the spectators felt the
concussion of their explosions. Patriotic music rose above the explosive din. Then,

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with a stellar finale of a multitude of fireworks, the grand presentation ended.


Rapidly, all began to gather belongings in order to embark on the trek back to their
vehicles. The evening spent with fellowship, food, and fireworks proved to be a
memory which both families will treasure.
2. Discuss your evaluation with your instructor.

————— Day 2 —————


A. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
The Second Continental Congress appointed Jefferson, who represented Virginia, to
draft a formal statement regarding the colonies’ break with Great Britain.

B. Writing Exercise:
Based on your instructor’s feedback, you will begin an edit week, reworking the narrative
paragraph which you wrote in Week 14. Today, edit all form, structure, and logic problems
in the paragraph. This includes points off topic, unsupported contentions, and all other
points in the top section of grading form. If necessary, make a new planning outline and re-
write portions which are not correct. Additionally, do more research as needed in order to
present your points more adequately.

————— Day 3 —————

A. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Jefferson was chosen to be president in a tie-breaking vote by the House of
Representatives.

B. Writing Exercise:
Today, continue editing your narrative paragraph by correcting stylistic and impression
problems. This includes, sentence variety, emphasis, transitions, and all other parts in
“Impression” portion of grading form.

————— Day 4 —————


A. Style Drill:
Identify the style point used in the following sentence.
The decision maker in the Louisiana Purchase was Jefferson.

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B. Writing Exercise:
Today, correct any mechanical errors in your paragraph. This includes grammar, spelling,
punctuation, and informalities. Also, prepare all items needed with your re-submission,
including anything not submitted the first time.

————— Day 5 —————


A. Grammar Drill:
Again, rehearse the prepositions.

B. Formality Drill:
Using the formality and grammar rules explained in Lesson 2, rewrite the sentence below in
proper form:
Jefferson served as governor of Virginia. Prior to his becoming president.

C. Writing Exercise:
1. Again, read your work aloud and be certain that you have improved in every area which
the instructor has deemed necessary.
2. Submit:
a. Your rewritten paragraph.
b. Any other rewritten items – ie. brainstorming, outline, etc.
c. The evaluation form filled out by your instructor.
d. The paragraph on which your teacher wrote corrections.
e. Any items which you did not submit with your first paragraph.

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